Friday, December 13, 2013



DK Canada

When I was studying English in university, Shakespeare was a required course. Turns out it conflicted with another course I wanted to take, though, so I had to meet with the English department head to plead my case for skipping Shakespeare. He was incredulous at first - how can you get an English degree without studying Shakespeare? But somehow I persuaded him.

Perhaps this is the reason I remember so little about Shakespeare's plays today. About the only story I can keep straight is Romeo and Juliet. That's why I was so excited when I spotted this Essential Shakespeare Handbook in the DK catalogue. It is a "definitive, fully illustrated guide to the world's greatest playwright and his works."

This is a one-stop guide to the life and work of William Shakespeare, organized into three sections: an overview of Shakespeare's early life in Stratford and his career as a playwright and poet; a survey of all 39 of his plays, arranged by genre and then chronologically; and an exploration of his non-dramatic work. Written by Leslie Dunton-Downer, a former lecturer at Harvard, and Alan Riding, the European cultural correspondent for The Times, this is a scholarly yet accessible guide. 

I'm not sure my English professor would think this a suitable replacement for a Shakespeare course, but I'm really excited about this early holiday gift to myself!

Find It:

Web - DK Canada
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Twitter - @DKCanada

*I received product for review purposes. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life!


  1. I am sure this is a great book and better than my Shakespeare courses in college over 40 years ago. I got the best education on Will and his works when I taught Hamlet to my 7th graders (6 years in a row). Every spring before I taught this play, I studied about Will, his times, and of course Hamlet. My husband asked me many times, "Haven't you learned enough about Shakespeare and Hamlet?" My answer: Never enough!
    Enjoy your book. Then go visit Stratford Upon Avon. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

    1. Hi Linda,

      Yes, they say that teaching others helps you remember it more than just reading it yourself, right? And repeating it so many times like that would really drill it into your brain! I'm looking forward to reading more about Shakespeare. And I would LOVE to go to Stratford Upon Avon. I may have to stick to Stratford, Ontario (within driving distance) though. :)

  2. Now this is a gift after my very heart! :D

    1. It's nice to connect with other lit lovers! :)